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Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins Returns is a 2018 American musical fantasy film directed by Rob Marshall, with a screenplay written by David Magee and a story by Magee, Marshall, and John DeLuca. Based on the book series Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers,[1] the film is a sequel to the 1964 film Mary Poppins, and stars Emily Blunt as the eponymous character with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, and Meryl Streep in supporting roles as well as introducing Joel Dawson and Tarik Frimpong in their film debut. Set in 1930s London, twenty-five years after the events of the original film, it sees Mary Poppins, the former nanny of Jane and Michael Banks, returning after a family tragedy.

Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Poppins Returns (2018 film poster).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRob Marshall
Produced by
Screenplay byDavid Magee
Story by
  • David Magee
  • Rob Marshall
  • John DeLuca
Based onMary Poppins
by P. L. Travers[1]
Music byMarc Shaiman
CinematographyDion Beebe
Edited byWyatt Smith
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date
  • November 29, 2018 (2018-11-29) (Dolby Theatre)
  • December 19, 2018 (2018-12-19) (United States)
Running time
130 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$130 million[3]
Box office$289.8 million[4]

Walt Disney Pictures announced the film in September 2015. Marshall was hired later that month, and Blunt and Miranda were cast in February 2016. Principal photography lasted from February to July 2017, and took place at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England. Mary Poppins Returns held its world premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on November 29, 2018, and was released in the United States on December 19, 2018, making it one of the longest gaps between film sequels in cinematic history at 54 years.[5][6]

The film has grossed over $289 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances of the cast (particularly Blunt), direction, musical score, musical numbers, costume design, production values, visuals, and sense of nostalgia, although some critics found it derivative of its predecessor. It was chosen by both the National Board of Review and American Film Institute as one of the top ten films of 2018 and received numerous award nominations, including four at the 76th Golden Globe Awards (including for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy), nine at the 24th Critics' Choice Awards, three at the 72nd British Academy Film Awards, and a SAG Award nomination for Blunt at the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Marshall has confirmed that a potential third Mary Poppins film with Blunt is in development as he stated that P.L. Travers wrote eight books in total with plenty more material to mine.



In the mid-1930s, widower Michael Banks lives in his childhood home with his children Annabel, John, and Georgie; his housekeeper Ellen and sister Jane are helping him raise the children. However, Michael has taken a loan from the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank to cover expenses, and William Weatherall Wilkins' associates come to the house to warn him the family's home will be repossessed if the loan is not repaid in full by Friday. Michael and Jane remember their father George left them shares in the bank that can cover the loan, and search the house for the certificate proving their ownership of the shares. During the search, Michael finds his old kite, but finds no worth in it anymore and puts it out to give away.

A strong wind whips up, taking the kite to the park where Annabel, John, and Georgie find it. Georgie grabs the kite string and is nearly pulled into the sky, but saved by lamplighter Jack. As they gain control, Mary Poppins descends with the kite. Returning to Cherry Tree Lane to take care of the three children as their nanny, Michael and Jane are astonished. Mary begins her duties by drawing the children a bath, which leads down to an imaginative oceanic world. However, when Mary and the children return to the house, she denies anything fantastical happened.

Michael goes to the bank to see if he can find proof of his shares, but Wilkins denies that there are any records of them - and destroys the records as soon as they're out of sight. Later, Annabel and John decide to sell their mother's "priceless" Royal Doulton bowl to help pay off the debt. Georgie tries to stop them, and the bowl ends up damaged while the three fight over it. Jack greets Mary and joins her and the children on a trip inside the bowl's painting. There, the group meet the talking animals drawn on the bowl, and Mary creates the Royal Doulton Music Hall. However, after the performance, Georgie is kidnapped by a wolf, a weasel, and a badger, and Annabel and John go to rescue him. They succeed, but end up falling off the edge of the bowl, quickly waking up in their beds, where they are comforted by Mary over their mother's death.

The next day, Mary and the children go to see Mary's cousin Topsy to get the bowl fixed. Although Topsy initially refuses as her shop has turned upside-down, Mary helps her see things from a different perspective, and she agrees to fix the bowl. They then go to the bank to give Michael his briefcase, but when the children go to Wilkins' office to ask him for help, they overhear him planning to repossess their house regardless. Georgie interrupts the banker's meeting, and the children are forced to flee. Michael sends the children home with Mary, but they become lost in fog. They encounter Jack and his fellow lamplighters, who teach the children Cockney rhyming slang and light their way home. There, Michael reprimands his children for putting his situation at risk and begins to break down, having been grieved over his wife's death, to which the children echo Mary's words.

The Banks family prepares to move out of their house, but while examining his old kite, Michael realizes Georgie used parts of the shares certificate to cover the kite's holes. Michael and Jane head to the bank while Mary and the children go with Jack and the lamplighters to Big Ben to "turn back time". Jack and Mary turn Big Ben back five minutes, giving Michael and Jane enough time to reach the bank. However, Mr. Dawes Jr. arrives and ousts Wilkins from the bank for his corrupt practices. Dawes Jr. affirms Michael and Jane's ownership of the certificates and reveals George had invested Michael's tuppence from 25 years ago, giving them enough money to pay off the loan.

The next day, the Banks family go to the park, and purchase balloons carrying them into the sky, while Mary Poppins senses it is time for her to leave. The Banks family and Ellen return to their home on Cherry Tree Lane. Michael and Jane realize Mary Poppins has left once more, and speak their thanks to her. As Mary flies away, she turns back and smiles down on London.


  • Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins.[7][8]
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack:[9] a cockney lamplighter and former apprentice of Bert from the original film.
  • Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks: Jane's brother and Annabel's, John's, and Georgie's father, who is now working as a part-time teller at Fidelity Fiduciary Bank and is a struggling widowed artist.[10] Matthew Garber portrayed the character in the original film.
  • Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks: Michael's sister and Annabel's, John's, and Georgie's aunt, who is now working as a labour organiser.[11] Karen Dotrice, who portrayed the character in the original film, makes a cameo appearance as an elegant woman.
  • Pixie Davies as Annabel Banks: Michael's daughter and Jane's niece.[12]
  • Nathanael Saleh as John Banks: Michael's eldest son and Jane's nephew.
  • Joel Dawson as Georgie Banks: Michael's younger son and Jane's nephew.
  • Julie Walters as Ellen: Michael's and Jane's long-time housekeeper.[13] The character was previously portrayed by Hermione Baddeley in the original film.
  • Dick Van Dyke as Mr. Dawes Jr.: the chairman of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank and William's uncle. Just as in the first film, Van Dyke is credited as "Navckid Keyd" which unscrambles during the credits. The character was portrayed by Arthur Malet in the original film, while Van Dyke previously portrayed both Bert and Mr. Dawes, Sr. (Mr. Dawes Jr.'s father who dies laughing).[14][15]
  • Angela Lansbury as the Balloon Lady: a saucy balloon saleswoman who sells balloons at the park. The character comes directly from the novels, much like the Bird Woman in the first film.
  • Colin Firth as William "Weatherall" Wilkins: a corrupt president of Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, Mr. Dawes Jr.'s nephew, and Michael's boss who sought to repossess the Banks' family house due to Michael's inability to pay off the loans.[16]
    • Firth also voices a wolf in the animated Royal Doulton Bowl sequence.
  • Meryl Streep as Topsy: Mary Poppins's eccentric Eastern European cousin called Tatiana Antanasia Cositori Topotrepolovsky, or Topsy for short, who runs a fix-it shop within London.[17]
  • David Warner as Admiral Boom: A staunchly by-the-book retired naval officer who is now confined to a wheelchair. Reginald Owen portrayed the character in the first movie.[15]
  • Jim Norton as Mr. Binnacle: Boom's first mate. Don Barclay portrayed the character, while David Tomlinson provided his voice in the original film.
  • Jeremy Swift as Hamilton Gooding: A lawyer who is one of Wilkins' associates.
    • Swift also voices a badger in the animated Royal Doulton Bowl sequence.
  • Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Templeton Frye: A lawyer who is one of Wilkins' associates and the more friendly of the duo.
    • Holdbrook-Smith also voices a weasel in the animated Royal Doulton Bowl sequence.
  • Noma Dumezweni as Miss Penny Farthing: Wilkins' secretary.
  • Sudha Bhuchar as Miss Lark: The Banks' neighbor who owns a dog.
  • Steve Nicolson as the Park Keeper: A worker at the park who doesn't want anyone walking on the "Keep off the Grass" areas.
  • Tarik Frimpong as Angus: Jack's fellow lamplighter who first engages in the “leerie speak” with him.


  • Edward Hibbert as Mary Poppins' Parrot Umbrella. He was previously voiced by David Tomlinson in the original film (Tomlinson also portrayed George Banks in the same film).[1]
  • Chris O'Dowd as Shamus the Coachman Dog, who is an Irish Setter in the animated Royal Doulton Bowl sequence.[1]
  • Mark Addy as Clyde the Horse in the animated Royal Doulton Bowl sequence.[1]



A sequel to Mary Poppins had been gestating in development hell since its release in 1964. Walt Disney attempted to produce a sequel a year later, but was rejected by author P. L. Travers, who dismissed Disney's first adaptation. In the late 1980s, then-chairman of Walt Disney Studios Jeffrey Katzenberg and vice-president of live-action production Martin Kaplan approached Travers with the idea of a sequel set years after the first film, with the Banks children now as adults and Julie Andrews reprising her role as an older Mary Poppins. Travers again rejected the concept, except for Andrews' return, suggesting a sequel set one year after the original film with Andrews reprising the role, but her idea was shot down too because it was impossible deal with her, who also imposed her own rules, including Poppins' clothing and barring it from being red.[3]

On September 14, 2015, Walt Disney Pictures president Sean Bailey pitched a new Mary Poppins film to Rob Marshall, John DeLuca, and Marc E. Platt, as the team had produced Into the Woods for the studio the year prior. With approval from Travers' estate, Disney greenlit the project with the film taking place 25 years after the first, featuring a standalone narrative, based on the remaining seven books in the series. Marshall was hired to direct, while DeLuca and Platt would serve as producers along with Marshall. David Magee was hired to write the script.[18]


On February 18, 2016, Emily Blunt was cast in the film to play the title role in the sequel.[8] On February 24, 2016, Lin-Manuel Miranda was cast in the film to play Jack, a lamplighter.[9] In April 2016, Disney confirmed that the film was in development and that Blunt and Miranda had been cast in the lead roles.[7] In May, Disney announced the film's title as Mary Poppins Returns.[19] By July 2016, Meryl Streep had entered negotiations to join the cast to play cousin Topsy,[17] and in the following month, Ben Whishaw in negotiations to play the grownup Michael Banks.[10] In September, Streep formally joined the cast.[20] The following month, Emily Mortimer was cast as the grownup Jane Banks,[11] and Colin Firth joined the film as William Weatherall Wilkins, president of the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank.[16] In February 2017, Angela Lansbury was cast to play the Balloon Lady.[21] Julie Andrews, who portrayed Poppins in the 1964 film, was approached to do a cameo in the sequel, but turned down the offer as she wanted it to be "Emily's show".[22] Dick Van Dyke, who portrayed Bert and Mr. Dawes Sr. in the original film, returns in the sequel as the latter's son, Mr. Dawes Jr., replacing Arthur Malet, who died in 2013.[23]


Principal photography on the film began February 10, 2017, at Shepperton Studios in Surrey, England.[15] Filming also took place outside the Bank of England in March 2017, and outside Buckingham Palace in April 2017.[24] Principal photography was wrapped by July 2017.[25]

Visual effects and animationEdit

The visual effects were provided by Cinesite, Framestore, Luma Pictures and TPO VFX and supervised by Christian Irles, Christian Kaestner, Brendan Seals, Matthew Tinsley and Matt Johnson.[26] Like the original film, this film includes a sequence combining live-action and traditional hand-drawn animation. The animation sequence was developed and overall supervision was handled by ex-Pixar veteran, Jim Capobianco. Ex-Disney animator, Ken Duncan, supervised physical animation production at his studio in Pasadena. Over 70 animation artists specializing in hand-drawn 2D animation from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, and other animation studios were recruited for the sequence.[1] The animated drawings were created using pencil and paper and scanned onto the computer to be digitally inked & painted. Character designer James Woods and animator James Baxter also helped redesign the penguins from the first film. All of the hand-drawn animation was created by Duncan's animation studio, Duncan Studio, in Pasadena, California.[27]


The music and score for the film was composed by Marc Shaiman, with song lyrics written by Scott Wittman and Shaiman.[28] The complete soundtrack album was released by Walt Disney Records on December 7, 2018.[28]


The film was originally scheduled to be released on December 25, 2018. However, in July 2018, it was moved up to December 19, 2018.[5]


On March 4, 2018, Disney released a teaser trailer for the film, with the release date of December 25.[29][30] On September 17, 2018, Disney released an official trailer which revealed new footage, a snippet of an original song from the film, "The Place Where Lost Things Go", and announced December 19 as the new release date for the film.[31] On October 22, 2018, Disney released a special look on Dancing with the Stars' "Disney Night" which teased an original song from the film, "Can You Imagine That".[32] On November 15, 2018, Disney released a sneak peek which teased another original song from the film, "Trip a Little Light Fantastic".[33] On November 22, 2018, Disney released a special episode of 20/20 on ABC called "Mary Poppins Returns: Behind the Magic" which included an extended look of the film.[34] On November 26, 2018, advance tickets for Mary Poppins Returns went on sale along with the digital pre-order of the soundtrack and the release of two tracks off the soundtrack, "The Place Where Lost Things Go" and "Trip a Little Light Fantastic."[35]


Box officeEdit

As of January 15, 2019, Mary Poppins Returns has grossed $152.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $137.3 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $289.8 million, against a production budget of $130 million.[4]

In the United States and Canada, the film was projected to gross $49-51 million from 4,090 theatres over its first five days (including around $35 million in its first weekend) and a total of $75 million over its first week of release.[36] The film made $4.8 million on its first day of release and $4.1 million on its second.[37] It went on to gross $23.5 million its opening weekend (a total of $32.3 million over its first five days), finishing below expectations but second at the box office behind fellow newcomer Aquaman. It then made $6.1 million on Monday and $11.5 million on Christmas Day for total week opening of $49.9 million.[38][39] In its second weekend the film increased by 20.5% to $28.4 million, remaining in second, and in its third weekend made $15.9 million, finishing third behind Aquaman and newcomer Escape Room.[40][41][42][43]

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 78% based on 300 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Mary Poppins Returns relies on the magic of its classic forebear to cast a familiar – but still solidly effective – family-friendly spell."[44] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on 54 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[45] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, and those at PostTrak gave it an 84% overall positive score and a 62% "definite recommend".[38]

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, writing "Emily Blunt is the magical nanny in this scarily accomplished clone-pastiche sequel, which starts terrifically and ends cloyingly – just like the original."[46] Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent wrote "The nostalgia here could easily have been very cloying. Instead, it adds to the richness and mystery. In an era of superhero franchises where sequels to successful movies turn up almost instantly, Mary Poppins’s return shows that sometimes it pays to wait. Half a century on, her allure hasn’t faded at all."[47] Owen Gleiberman of Variety deemed the film as a "rapturous piece of nostalgia", lauded Blunt's take on Mary Poppins and described her casting as "practically perfect", and gave his praise on Marshall's direction as well the production design, musical score, songs, and the supporting performances (particularly Miranda, Whishaw, Firth, and Streep). He also drew comparisons of the film's quality and tone to the 1960s musicals as well the nostalgia to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[48]

Brian Truitt of USA Today described the film as a "comforting nostalgia-fest" and "satisfaction in spit-spot fashion" as well as commended the performances of Blunt and Miranda (who he referred to as "endlessly charming") as well Marshall's knack on musical numbers and Shaiman's "swinging delight" original score.[49] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone rated the film with three out of five stars, praising Blunt's unique portrayal of the titular character while referring the film as an "industrial-strength sugarplum" and felt that the sequel didn't live up to the 1964 original, but nevertheless praised the film in which he remarked: "Mary Poppins Returns shows it has the power to leave you deliriously happy".[50] Time magazine's Stephanie Zacharek wrote that "Mary Poppins Returns honors the spirit of its predecessor". She also highlighted Blunt's interpretation of the titular character (in which she described the performance as close to "Travers’s original vision"), as well as the costumes, production values, and 2D animation sequences, but found fault with Shaiman's and Wittman's songs as one of the film's "weaker points".[51]

Will Gompertz of the BBC gave the film 2 out of 5 stars, stating, "It looks fantastic, the special effects are special, and a great deal of money has clearly been spent in the hope of making it supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. All of which is great. Except the movie – unlike the eponymous super nanny – never quite takes off."[52] Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote that "Mary Poppins Returns looks, feels and sounds like a sales pitch" but praised the "emotional rawness" of Whishaw's performance; she called Shaiman's and Wittman's songs "the gravest disappointment", stressing that "there’s nothing here with comparable melodic or lyrical staying power" to the Sherman Brothers' original 1964 songs.[53]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
American Film Institute January 4, 2019 Top 10 Films of the Year Mary Poppins Returns Won [54]
Annie Awards February 2, 2019 Best Animated Special Production Pending [55]
Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in a Live Action Production Chris Sauve, James Baxter, Sandro Cleuzo Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Character Design in an Animated Feature Production James Woods Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Jeff Turley Pending
Outstanding Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Ovi Nedelcu Pending
Art Directors Guild Awards February 2, 2019 Excellence in Production Design for a Fantasy Film John Myhre Pending [56]
British Academy Film Awards February 10, 2019 Best Original Music Marc Shaiman Pending [57]
Best Production Design John Myhre, Gordon Sim Pending
Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Pending
Capri Hollywood International Film Festival January 2, 2019 Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Won [58]
Casting Society of America January 31, 2019 Feature Big Budget – Comedy Bernard Telsey, Tiffany Little Canfield, Conrad Woolfe and Sarah Trevis Pending [59]
Costume Designers Guild Awards February 19, 2019 Excellence in Period Film Sandy Powell Pending [60]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards January 13, 2019 Best Picture Mary Poppins Returns Nominated [61]
Best Actress Emily Blunt Nominated
Best Production Design John Myhre, Gordon Sim Nominated
Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Nominated
Best Visual Effects Mary Poppins Returns Nominated
Best Actress in a Comedy Emily Blunt Nominated
Best Score Marc Shaiman Nominated
Best Song "The Place Where Lost Things Go" Nominated
"Trip a Little Light Fantastic" Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society December 3, 2018 Best Use of Music Mary Poppins Returns Nominated [62]
Georgia Film Critics Association January 12, 2019 Best Original Song "The Place Where Lost Things Go" – Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman Nominated [63]
"Trip a Little Light Fantastic" – Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman Nominated
Golden Globe Awards January 6, 2019 Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Mary Poppins Returns Nominated [64]
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Lin-Manuel Miranda Nominated
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Emily Blunt Nominated
Best Original Score Marc Shaiman Nominated
Guild of Music Supervisors Awards February 13, 2019 Best Music Supervision for Films Budgeted Over $25 Million Michael Higham and Paul Gemignani Pending [65]
Best Song/Recording Created for a Film "Trip a Little Light Fantastic" Pending
Hollywood Music in Media Awards November 14, 2018 Original Score – Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Film Marc Shaiman Nominated [66]
Original Song – Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Film "The Place Where Lost Things Go" – Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman Won
"Trip a Little Light Fantastic" – Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman Nominated
Humanitas Prize February 8, 2019 Family Feature Film Mary Poppins Returns Pending [67]
London Film Critics Circle January 20, 2019 British/Irish Actress of the Year Emily Blunt Pending [68]
Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild February 16, 2019 Best Period and/or Character Make-Up Peter Robb-King and Paula Price Pending [69]
Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling Pending
Movieguide Awards February 8, 2019 Best Movies for Families Mary Poppins Returns Pending [70]
National Board of Review January 8, 2019 Top Ten Films Won [71]
Palm Springs International Film Festival January 3, 2019 Best Ensemble Performance Won [72]
Satellite Awards February 17, 2019 Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical Nominated [73]
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical Lin-Manuel Miranda Nominated
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical Emily Blunt Nominated
Best Original Song "Can You Imagine That?" – Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman Nominated
Best Art Direction and Production Design John Myhre Won
Best Sound (Editing or Mixing) Mary Poppins Returns Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards January 27, 2019 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Emily Blunt Pending [74]
Seattle Film Critics Society December 17, 2018 Best Costume Design Sandy Powell Nominated [75]
Best Production Design John Myhre, Gordon Sim Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association December 3, 2018 Best Production Design John Myhre Nominated [76]


In early January 2019, Marshall confirmed that a third film could possibly be in early development. Blunt has expressed great interest in returning to the character. [77]


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